‘Eeek’, Mansa yelled. ‘Get that slug away from me!!’ Her friends giggled and starting teasing her.It was a sunny day at Delhi Public School and Mansa and her three best friends-Shradha, Swathi andAdithi were having fun. A new term had just started and they didn’t have a care in the world.It was their first year in senior school and they were veryexcited. So far, though, they hadn’t noticed toomuch of a change. They were simply the youngest (and shortest!) in the school building. Little did theyknow what senior school had in store for them.Now that the slug was getting boring, Adithi was wondering what to do. She thought out loud, “Shouldwe go to the football field? No. It will be too hot. Hmm...I wonder where….” Adithi interrupted,’ Lets goto the canteen! It’s so hot. We could all use an ice cream, right?’All the girls agreed so they sped offtowards the canteen. When they got into the line though, four big boys came and pushed ahead ofthem. Shradha got irritated. Hey!’ she cried. “We were here first! You can’t just cut through the Q!That’s wrong!’ The boys snickered and pushed her down. When her friends tried to help her, the boyswarned them to stay out of their way. The other children just watched on. They were used to this. Thiswas a gang of bullies-Chiraag, Rajiv, Anshul and Nitin, who were just not to be fought with. Later, a kindsenior girl came up to the girls and warned them to stay away from them.But from that day on itseemed that the boys were always around. The girls had no peace of mind. After their swimminglessons, Rajiv pushed Mansa into the pool. The next day, Chiraag poured an entire bottle of water onAdithi. Both girls were ill and missed school for a few days. But instead of being upset about missingschool, they were glad. At least the boys couldn’t hurt them when they were home. They felt safe. Theyhad started to hate school. Shradha and Swathi, in the mean time, were going through a tough time.Nitin and Chiraag pushed Shradha down and she scraped her knee and sprained her ankle. Anshul pulledSwathi s hair when she was swinging. The boys seemed to get a sick pleasure by bullying the little girlsbut the girls couldn’t do anything. They felt helpless and alone. They hid all this from their parents andteachers in fear of what the boys might do to them later on.But one particularly gloomy day, when the boys were taunting them as they walked to their buses,Mansa had had enough. She was tired of the games the boys played. ‘That’sit’, she said. ‘I have hadenough.’ Shradha and Swathi nodded but Adithi said,’ we all have had enough. But what can we doabout it. We cannot tell any-…..” Swathi cut it,’ Why not? What can those boys do to us if we tell theteacher?? We could tell Neeta Ma’am!’ Adithi felt hesitant.’ She is a new teacher’, she said. I do notknow how she will react.’Mansa jumped in,’ we could ask Supriya Ma’am.Supriya Ma’am will certainlyunderstand. She could help us!’ Shradha agreed’ Swathi is right.’ she said. ‘We need to stand up forourselves.’ So it was decided. They would tell their old class teacher tomorrow.The next morning, they all reached school early and walked up to their teacher. They all wished hergloomily and she knew immediately that something was very wrong. She took them to an emptyclassroom and asked them what happened. It had been decided that Mansa was to explain. So she toldthe teacher everything that had been happening for the last one month. Supriya Ma’am s face becamegrim.’ Come with me’, she said. She led them to the boy’s classes and called them all out. The boys wereglaring at them menacingly. But this time, they felt safe. They knew that the boys could no longer hurtthem. Supriya Ma’am took them to the school councilor’s room. The councilor, Mrs. Singh had areputation of being extremely kind and gentle. Even the boys didn’t feel scared of her. They knew whythey were called and knew that she would not punish them harshly. Mrs. Singh brought them into aroom and made them sit down. She asked all of them for their names and then turned to Chiraag and
said,’ Whydo you think you are here today?’ He didn’t answer. He was too ashamed. She turned toAnshul and reputed the question. He, and Anshul and Rajiv after him, had no answer. Mrs. Singh hadmade them feel ashamed without doing saying anything. She asked them,’ would you like it if I pulledyou’re hair? Or pushed you into the pool?’I don’t think so. No one would. But Iam having fun, right? Sohow does it matter if you get hurt in the bargain? The boys hung their head. They knew what they haddone was wrong. ‘But when we were hurt all those years ago no one said anything to help us!’ Chiraagsaid. Mrs. Singh smiled to her self, ‘So you got pushed around. Somebody made you cold. But the cycleends right now. You can’t lead someone down that road.’ The boys nodded. They understood what Mrs.Singh was trying to convey. Bullies make bullies. Who knows? Maybe a few years down the lane Adithi,Mansa, Shradha and Swathi might become bullies. It never did any good. The boys apologized to thegirls. The girls accepted the apology but where still scared. ‘We have faced them Ma’am, Swathi said.‘But how can we face other bullies??’ Mrs. Singh thought about the problem. Then her face suddenlylighted up. She had found a way to kill two birds with one stone. ‘Girls,’ shesaid,’ you are going to go forself defense classes. Boys you too. The classes are not only good for you but are fun as well. The secondbatch is starting tomorrow. The classes are held in school. I will tell you re parents the details.’ Sheknew that through the classes, the girls would over come their shyness and become confident and theboys would learn how to be kind and patient.And maybe they would all become friends.A few weeks later, Rajiv, Chiraag, Anshul and Nitin were friends with the girls. They took care of themand protected them like they were their little sisters!! They were a lot friendlier and had apologized toall the people they had hurt. The school was shocked!! The bad boys were turning over a new leaf! Thegirls too had changed. They were confident and stood up for them selves. Their self defense classeswere over but they had enjoyed it so much that all eight of them took up Karate classes after school.They are still best friends.